An Environmental History of the UK Defence Estate, 1945 to the Present brings to attention the history of places that have traditionally remained under-the-radar in discussions of war and the environment, through site-based studies of five training areas in southwest England and Wales: Salisbury Plain, Lulworth, Dartmoor, Sennybridge and Castlemartin. At these sites, the big events of the twentieth century are written into landscapes that absorb their impact and reflect change in intriguing ways. Here, however, environment is more than a canvas on which historical forces play out; it has an agency of its own, as the depiction of the surprising nature and robust habitats of the training areas recognises.
An Environmental History of the UK Defence Estate, 1945 to the Present critically examines the gradual 'greening' of the MoD as it developed policies of military environmentalism. It includes the histories of the ghost-villages created by forced evictions, and charts the rise and fall of anti-military protest movements. It depicts heated confrontations, mass trespasses, and demands for public access alongside conservation work and training activities, situating the human histories of these sites within their environmental history, and taking the reader behind the barbed wire in the first study of its kind.
"Dudley weaves a narrative through the individual stories of the largest training areas and spaces in southern England and Wales to provide an informed and highly readable account of military environmental history behind the frontline. This valuable contribution will be of direct interest to environmental historians, but will also appeal to geographers, planners and historians of the military as they seek to understand how military activities shape and affect wider activities, environments and landscapes."
– Professor Rachel Woodward, Newcastle University, UK,
"Marianna Dudley's study uncovers the history of a landscape that has been largely neglected by historians: Britain's military sites. Taking into account broader social and environmental transformations, this book makes the surprising discovery that military activities are about conservation as well as destruction [...] Dudley's study is environmental history at its very best."
– Christof Mauch, Director, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich, Germany,
4. Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA)
6. Sennybridge Training Area (SENTA)
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Marianna Dudley is an environmental historian who has held research fellowships at the Library of Congress, Washington, US and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich, Germany. She is based at the University of Bristol, UK.